Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog) (last update 5/23/2017)

September 30, 2010

Phil Keaggy & Randy Stonehill ~ Mystery Highway

(Click on heading to visit official Phil Keaggy website.)
Style: classic rock, Christian
Label: Odd Body Music
Year: 2009
Home: Ohio & California

Members: Phil Keaggy ~ guitar/lead vocals/bass/mandolin/percussion
Randy Stonehill ~ lead vocals/acoustic guitar
John Sferra, Robert Gibbs ~ drums
Leo Lyons ~ bass
Mike Pachelli ~ b. vocals

Christian guitar guru Phil Keaggy has an uncanny knack to sound more like the Beatles than any of the Beatles have since they split. George Harrison wanted to make this type of music - raw, upbeat, melodic & unquestionably religious but he was only able to do so a few times before the audience turned against him ... Phil Keaggy has been lucky enough to make a long career out of it. With famed Christian singer Randy Stonehill by his side, they groove on basic 60's-esque arrangements in an album that's an informal musical sequel to Keaggy's outstanding Sunday's Child, which deliberately aimed for sounding like the Beatles, even using Ringo's drumkit. The fact that the title track "Sunday's Child" reappears here with a new arrangement & the fact that Stonehill guested on Sunday's Child only proves the sneaking suspicion that this is in many ways a sequel to that successful outing. If you liked Sunday's Child there's no way you won't enjoy Mystery Highway, maybe even a bit more as Stonehill is a much stronger & forthright singer than the soft spoken Keaggy. Every song is catchy, pop-infected & nostalgically Americana. In a hard rock forum as this is this might seem an odd inclusion, but decades ago in another musical world this style was hard rock music & without it we wouldn't have what we do today. Though, in such a forum as this one almost don't want to like this album knowing that it doesn't have anything but happy songs & no headbanging guitar solos ... it even has a song about Elvis & the Bible ("Rockin' In A Hard Place") ... but it's so upbeat 50's/early 60's-ish, but you can't help but enjoy it while being transported to the first time you heard Volunteers by the Jefferson Airplane. Let alone, sometimes it's nice to take a break from the normal, let alone turn back the clock. Keaggy & Stonehill undoubtedly know this. If you at all like either Keaggy or Stonehill this is a must own release. If you collect Christian rock this is also a must addition. This might also act as a good introduction to both artists, albeit, it's probably one of the best albums either of them have done. As for the Christian message for the non-Christian readers? You'll probably find a deeper Christian message on a Soundgarden album, believe it or not.

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